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Animal Awareness and Photos based in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.
Scientific Name - (Meles meles)
Below you will find what A Wild Life with Animals believe to be accurate information regarding this species.
A nocturnal omnivore with a stout body, with short legs used for digging, is found in a variety of habitats including woods, hedges, fields and cliffs.
Badgers live in a burrow called a sett (see picture), and are known to either live alone or in a group called a cete of up to 15 badgers. Setts can be shared with rats, rabbits and even foxes. Some badgers even move from home to home, whereas others stick to their favourite sett permanently.
Although badgers are often seen strolling across fields, they can get up to speeds of 20mph over short distances when needed.
A European badger’s diet will be made up mainly of earthworms, insects, grubs. Occasionally they will also eat small reptiles, amphibians and the eggs and young of ground-nesting birds, along with fruit and roots they dig up.
Historically badger hunting/baiting was common worldwide, resulting in a devastating population reduction; this led in 1992 to the Protection of Badgers Act making it a serious offence to kill, injure or take a badger, or to damage or interfere with a sett without a licence to do so. An exemption that allowed fox hunters to loosely block setts to prevent chased foxes escaping into them was brought to an end with the Hunting Act 2004.
Badgers are known to mate at any time of the year, the most common time being February to March and up to four cubs are born in an underground chamber in the sett, a little like a nursery. The cubs will stay in the nursery chamber for up to eight weeks, they will feed by suckling from their mother, once this period is over they will begin to come to the surface and venture outside to forage for their own food with their cete. During the winter badgers do not hibernate, rather they go into a state of dormancy where their growth, development, and physical activity are temporarily stopped.
Important: If you find an injured badger please DO NOT handle, call a local wildlife hospital, the Police if on a busy road, and the RSPCA immediately. Injured animals can and will bite.
The most common question we get is 'how do I know if this hole in the ground is badgers'?
So here are two photos, the one on the left is a badger sett and the one on the right is a rabbit warren. Think of the animals body shape when looking at these. A badger hole is a horizontal 'd' shaped hole to match their stocky bodies and most fox/rabbit holes are a squashed 'o' shaped hole to match their taller thinner bodies.
Of course this is only a guide as badgers/fox/rabbits can all use each others setts/warrens, and the only fool proof method is to get visual confirmation, but the shapes are a good indicator of what might be there along with other signs like fresh digging, housekeeping, latrines etc.
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